BA 2008: Political Science (Honours) and French

Where did Sheena work?

Work term 1 (4 months)
Industrial Education Team Leader, Surrey Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP), Dillon Consulting

Work term 2 (4 months)
Department of Audit and Evaluation, Canadian Museum of History

Work term 3 (4 months)
Career Initiatives Research Assistant, Arts Co-op Program

Work term 4 (4 months)
State of Forests Report Research Assistant, Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations

What did Sheena accomplish?

Dillon Consulting
During her time as an Industrial Education Team Leader for SHaRP, Sheena gained insight into the recruitment process and developed her leadership through hiring, training and leading a team of 4 high school students to manage and complete projects such as industrial education campaigns and intensive stream restoration projects. She also promoted SHaRP by writing press releases, providing interviews to local television stations and newspapers. In addition, she was asked to act as the Media/PR Team Leader for SHaRP’s largest restoration project.

Canadian Museum of History
Sheena took advantage of national co-op opportunities and moved to Ottawa to work in the Department of Audit and Evaluation. This position gave her an opportunity to work with SPSS Statistical software in order to create a five page survey for 5,000 members which focused on the accessibility of the museum for visitors. She then collected the surveys, analyzed the data and compared these findings with accessible services in over 20 museums. Sheena also conducted over 20 interviews with museum visitors in order to evaluate a sensitive exhibit on eugenics and the Nazi government during World War II. Her experience early on gave her “an edge and niche [in statistical analysis] that [she] continued to develop throughout [her] educational career.”

Arts Co-op Program
Sheena was able to utilize her knowledge of SPSS when developing, conducting and analyzing the first UBC Arts Co-op employer satisfaction survey in order to determine ways to improve Arts Co-op services. She presented these findings in a 30 page final report. She also developed her knowledge of event planning when helping coordinate large UBC Career events such as the Arts Career Expo. In order to make the event a success, she had to liaise with numerous departments and create posters and brochures to market the event. Sheena also had the opportunity to develop and facilitate pre-employment training workshops for new students on effective resume and cover letter writing, interview skills and workplace communication.

Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations
For her final work term, Sheena moved to Victoria to research climate change, greenhouse gases and public involvement to develop new indicators for the State of British Columbia’s Forests report. She also developed a 50 page report on sustainable forest management monitoring and reporting overlaps and knowledge gaps for the Forest and Range Evaluation Program (FREP). Through this experience she developed advanced skills in Microsoft Word and Excel and learned how to create report documents – skills which she uses in her current position.

What would Sheena tell others about Co-op?

Sheena says, “Being in UBC Arts Co-op was one of the best decisions I made while an undergrad at UBC.” In addition to co-op, Sheena was able to take advantage of the different opportunities on campus including doing research for a Political Science professor, volunteering at campus events and going on exchange to Sciences Po, a university that specializes in the humanities and social sciences in Grenoble, France. Sheena decided to pursue a Masters degree, but says “it was my co-op experiences, and the skills I gained in them, combined with my academic background which helped me achieve my dream of working for the United Nations.”

Where is she now?
Sheena is currently a Research Assistant in the Education Indicators and Data Analysis section of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). The information she analyzes on children in and out of school around the world enables policy-makers to understand the characteristics of out-of-school children populations and helps them target interventions to help them complete their education. Sheena has had the opportunity to represent the UIS in missions in Turkey and Brazil as part of the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children, which is led by the UIS and UNICEF.

Benefits of Co-op
Through each of her diverse co-op work terms, Sheena developed skills and gained experiences that she uses in her current position with UNESCO; she realized her interest in leadership, team building and community development, learned how to work in a professional environment and gained an understanding of how the public sector works and how to write large analytical reports. “Finding work after the BA is a much less daunting task if the student is equipped with the resume, cover letter, portfolio and experience of a UBC Arts Co-op student.”